What’s going down for the college-bound? Early admission students in the graduating high school class of 2015 have already received good (or momentarily bad) news, while everyone else plays the waiting game. Current juniors are beginning to turn attention en masse to this whole college admissions process…
Hoping to leverage affluence into admittance? An anonymous source, sharing his or her Confessions Of A College Admissions Officer, advises going big or going home:
Money won’t guarantee you a spot unless you’ve donated tens of millions of dollars. Tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands won’t do it. You pretty much need to have your name on a building.
A few weeks ago, a parent tried to offer us a cash bribe. The father of an applicant came into the admissions office and dropped off an envelope with $1,000 in it. He’d previously made an appointment, so we had his name and address, and we sent it back right away. Lots of people try to bribe more subtly. When we’re out on the road recruiting in the fall, people will offer to take us out to dinner. I always just say thanks, but that I have plans. One father also tried to leverage his connections in the business world, telling me he’d help me get a job if I got his kid in, which was a bit insulting. I told him I liked my job and field and had no interest in his business contacts.
On the other hand, most applicants are hoping to receive more money than they give to colleges. Scholarship searches should prepare to flip a lot of rocks looking for hidden treasures. For examples of utterly improbable funding sources, consider the 10 College Scholarships You Never Knew Existed shared by Forbes. Seriously, who wouldn’t want to apply for the Paintball Scholarship Fund?
Considering how many colleges vie for applicants’ attention, most families rely heavily on college rankings. If you’re looking for as many lists as possible, enjoy the Washington Monthly’s America’s Affordable Elite Colleges 2014, which purports to identify which selective schools give high-achieving non-wealthy students a break in price and which break their bank accounts?
Then again, you may agree with education reporter Libby Nelson’s position that the US News rankings are terrible for students. What do you think?